Camouflage Cosmetics

After cosmetic surgery, most people are eager to return to their normal routine. Doing that quickly depends as much on how you feel as how you look. Your plastic surgeon will help you determine when it is safe to resume your normal activities, but only you can decide how comfortable you feel with your appearance.

Who Should Consider Camouflage Cosmetics?

Most patients have some temporary cosmetic side effects after surgery, such as swelling, bruising, or visible incision marks. It takes time for these signs to disappear completely, but you don’t always need to sit home and wait. There are a many products and techniques that can be used to camouflage the temporary side effects of surgery and help you face the world with confidence and ease.

Before you start using camouflage cosmetics, ask Dr. Sattler for advice on the best time to begin. Most people can begin applying camouflage cosmetics as early as a day or two after surgery. If you want to hide incision lines, you'll need to wait until your stitches have been removed and the incision is completely closed.

After rhinoplasty, patients can typically use makeup as soon as the splint is removed. With a chemical peel or dermabrasion, if a crust has formed you'll need to wait until it's completely gone.

What Products to Look For

Dr. Sattler or one of our staff members may recommend special camouflage products, commercial camouflage products available in many large department stores, or even a standard makeup that you already use.

The important thing is to use products that are hypoallergenic and fragrance free. If you're happy with the products you currently use, you can continue using them after surgery, but use only fresh products with new applicators so they'll be as clean as possible.

There are three basic approaches to camouflage cosmetics:

  • Concealing: hiding incision lines and bruises
  • Color correcting: neutralizing color in reddened or yellowish skin
  • Contouring: disguising swelling and creating the illusion of highlights and shadows

Concealing

Concealers are thicker and more opaque than regular foundation makeup. They can cover healed incision lines as well as scars or bruises on your face or body.

Choose a concealer that's opaque and waterproof, but creamy enough that it doesn't pull on your skin when you apply it. If you can find a concealer that closely matches your skin tone, you may not have to use a foundation on top of it.

It's not a good idea to use concealer on the thin, delicate skin around your eyes, since concealer is thick and will collect in the creases. Instead, try using a normal fluid foundation, color corrector, or eye makeup alone.

Color Correcting

Color correctors are used to disguise the yellowish shade of a bruise or the overall redness that follows chemical peel and dermabrasion. They come in tints: lavender corrector neutralizes yellow tones, while green corrector removes red.

Less opaque than concealers, color correctors have the same consistency and sheerness as foundation. They're generally used under your foundation.

Contouring

Contouring can be applied anywhere on the face, but it's most often used to disguise the swelling that accompanies nose surgery and facial implants. Contouring creates dimension using light and shadow: lighter areas appear to come forward, while darker areas recede.

You'll need two separate products for contouring: a highlighter, which is about two shades lighter than your normal foundation; and a contour shadow, about two shades darker than your foundation. (You probably won't find products labeled highlighter and contour shadow. Just look for the appropriate shades of foundation makeup or pressed power.)

Blending is the key to successful contouring: you want to create the illusion of angles without seeing stripes of makeup. The techniques of contouring are subtle and take some practice. Once you're adept, however, you can use contouring to create "higher" cheekbones, narrow your nose, or minimize a swollen chin.

Removing Camouflage Cosmetics

Camouflage cosmetics tend to be thicker and more adherent than everyday makeup, so it's important to remove them every night. First, use a cleansing cream that removes all of your makeup. Then use a gentle, alcohol-free toner applied with a cotton ball to remove any cleanser residue. Follow this with a moisturizer formulated for your skin type: oily, dry, or combination.

Would you like more information about camouflage cosmetics in the San Gabriel Valley? Contact the Glendora plastic surgery practice of Dr. Jon Sattler from nearby Arcadia or Azusa to schedule an appointment.